The shore line is bordered by a levee of obsidian, lava pebbles, and calcareous fragments, cutting off and inclosing ponds of water behind it, from which the surplus waters flow out through crevices in the dike. These ponds are the accumulated waters of thousands of springs breaking from the ground all along the line of the beach. The lake bottom is everywhere free from caverns, and gradually sloping to deep water. The ruins of old spring craters appear at intervals along the shore. In the afternoon the snow had diminished to a general depth of six inches, and exposed locations were bare. We spent the evening in collecting specimens from the different springs and laying in a supply of fish for future use.
Twenty-seventh day -- September 17. -- In the morning we noticed a great commotion among the hot springs. Many heretofore quiescent were now active and flowing. Others, which previously boiled gently, sent up clouds of steam, and threw water to the height of three and four feet. Evidently they have their periods of increased action, like those we saw on the Yellowstone below. Before leaving camp a council was held, which resulted in our leaving Mr. Gillette, with Privates Moore and Williamson, to make a final effort in the search for Mr. Everts. They were provided with one pack mule and ten days' rations. They were to go back to Bozeman by our former route, or at discretion make a search and follow on our trail.
Starting at 9 o'clock in a northwesterly course, we traveled up a gradual declivity through open timber four miles, to the summit of the divide, then descending for about the same distance, we crossed a deep, open valley, containing a headwater tributary of the Firehole branch of the Madison. The course then lay over the summit of a very steep ridge, 1,000 feet in altitude, the face of which was covered with masses of fallen timber, through which we found a passage of the utmost difficulty. Passing the summit, a glimpse was obtained of a good-sized lake, the source of the Firehole. Skirting then a ridge to the northward, over a country very much broken, we soon began to descend, and finally reached the bottom of an open ravine, abounding with springs of good water, where we camped. Distance, 12 miles.
Barometer, 22.65; thermometer, 50°; elevation, 7,535 feet.
Twenty-eighth day -- September 18. -- We broke camp at 9 o'clock, traveling along the slopes of the ridges, skirting the ravines through falling timber, and passing in many places over swampy terraces, for a distance of three miles, when we suddenly came upon a mountain torrent, 40 feet wide, and running through a gorge of trachyte lava 200 feet in depth. This was the Firehole River, heading in a lake a few miles to the south. Following down the course of this stream we presently passed two fine roaring cascades, where the water tumbled over rocks to the depth of 20 and 50 feet successively. These pretty little falls, if located on an eastern stream, would be celebrated in history and song; here, amid objects so grand as to strain conception and stagger belief, they were passed without a halt.
Shortly after the cañon widened a little,
and on descending to a level with the stream we found ourselves once more
in the dominions of the Fire King. Scattered along both banks of the infant
river were boiling springs, depositing calcareous craters. These
varied from 2 to 12 feet across, and were all in active eruption, the cones
deposited varying from 3 to 40 feet in height, and sometimes covering a
space of one-fourth of an acre. A feature of these craters is, that they
gradually seal themselves up and stop the flow of their water, by depositing
around the interior Go
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